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The Polar Express 3-D
BLU-RAY disk
01.13.2010 By: J.A. Hamilton
The Polar Express 3-D order download
Director:
Robert Zemeckis

Actors:
Tom Hanks
Eddie Deezen
Nona Gaye

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A young boy questioning the existence of Santa Clause is taken on the adventure of a lifetime when a train bound for the North Pole suddenly appears outside his window Christmas Eve.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I would have to say my tastes as far as Christmas movies are concerned are rather picky. I lean toward the more modern classics like HOME ALONE, JINGLE ALL THE WAY and SCROOGED, rather than the yearly incarnation of say ITíS A WONDERFUL LIFE or A CHRISTMAS CAROL. POLAR EXPRESS never interested me, so when I sat down with it I was expecting no real enjoyment to come from this viewing. I didnít hate it, but to me this film (based upon a book I didnít read) is more of the same and takes from a worn out premise (a kid questioning the existence of Santa is swept off to the North Pole) that weíve all seem countless times.

There are plenty of boastful themes to get you into the Christmas spirit, like the many waiters singing and dancing, the majestic reaches of the North Pole and my favorite being the Hobo ďGrinchĒ character. He doesnít make a whole lot of sense but adds useful sense of danger to the story just the same. Iím not into Tom Hanks but he does a good job of juggling various character voices, and the run time felt about twenty minutes too long but then again, most people donít want to shell out big money for a sixty to seventy minute film.

I recall hearing a great deal of mixed opinions about the animation back when this came out, which from where Iím sitting doesnít look too shabby. Iíll agree with the prognosis of character realism in the way of emotional value, being that we donít get much from some of the characters but overall this is trivial especially on Blu-ray as the details are crisply vivid. A word about the 3-D end of things: I have to say it sucked balls, but that could very well be because 1: Iím still in AVATAR 3-D mode which was vastly superior or 2: This is my first 3-D home movie experience and I was unsure what to expect.

THE POLAR EXPRESS is a wondrous film for children, especially ones who are still in awe when it comes to Santa Clause and the magical realm surrounding him. Most of these films borrow from one another story-wise and thatís fine, there are only so many ways to re-create Santaís world. I always enjoy a new point of view when it comes to Santaís workshop and how the toys are made (my favorite aspect of this film), but then I always go back to FRED CLAUSE and hilarity that ensued. The magic herein is something special and certainly worthwhile, but donít rush out to buy this version thinking the 3-D will blow you away because it wonít. You want luscious 3-D action, go see AVATAR.
THE EXTRAS
You Look Familiar: Tom Hanks explains the details surrounding motion picture technology and his overall thoughts on working the animation front. Beats talking to Wilson for hours on end.

A Genuine Ticket to Ride: Here we get more technical info on animation, a breakdown of the camera controlled visuals, details about animated hair and wardrobe and how they re-created the North Pole. This was definitely one of the most beautiful North Poles to date.

Music: We get some back and forth between composer Alan Silvestri and song writer Glen Ballard, a live performance by Josh Grobin and a deleted song entitled, ďSmokey and SteamerĒ. My woman loves Josh Grobin, but I donít see the appeal.

True Inspiration: The artist and author of the original story get into how the Polar Express came to be. Iíll be honest, Iíve never even heard of this book.

Behind the Scenes of ďBelieveĒ: We get a tour of the sound studio and look at the artists as the song is being recorded. Looks like a distracting process.

Flurry of Effects: Here we get a comparative look at how the real actor movements and expressions are transformed into the animated format. These details get better and better each year, pretty soon we wonít even need the actors.

Previews: We get the theatrical trailer and a demo for the video game. The game looks like a mediocre effort.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I love Christmas as much as the next guy, but with all the Christmas movies out there, I like most people, am bound to my own set of favorites and this just isnít one of them. Again, fun for kids but same ol, same ol for the rest of us and the 3-D addition is totally laughable.
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